November 2004

Top of the News: All Fall Down

Poor finishing, bad clearances, an own goal, and the Quakes crash out of the playoffs. (Credit to KC for that last goal, though. What a cracker.)

It was always my feeling that it was only by defeating the Fusion and winning the MLS Cup in 2001 that the Quakes saved themselves from the axe. To some extent we've lived on borrowed time at least since then, and given the love we have always felt from the league, probably since the start. I imagine the only reason San Josť got a team in the first place was because some of the biggest boosters for the league called the Bay Area home. When Bridgewater folded up the Bay Area Blackhawks to push for a division I league, it was probably hard to tell him to take a hike when it all came to fruition.

So. Let's recap the week. Our potential local buyer has pulled out. The MLS and Quakes' ownership have made their feelings clear by not lifting a finger or whispering one word to attempt to keep Landon Donovan on US soil. Taking his cue, Donovan jets back to Germany. The Quakes struggle in the playoffs, as they have all season, and are put out. And so it all ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper.

It may yet be true that AEG will field a team in San Josť next season, for the sole purpose of keeping the franchise intact long enough to move to Texas the year following. But somehow I doubt it. Another championship might have saved us, but it was not to be, and I suspect we have seen the last ball kicked in a professional soccer match in the Bay Area for another generation.

Thanks, Quakes, for all the memories. It was fun while it lasted. Good luck to you all, wherever you end up. And a special thank you to Landon, a true once-in-a-lifetime talent, far better than the MLS ever deserved. We feel privileged to have been permitted to watch you play.